Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


             When everything seems to be a challenge and life is hard, it is often difficult to maintain a sense of gratitude and faith. At times being happy feels impossible and ridiculously difficult to maintain. There is a Buddhist mantra about seeking enlightenment that goes: “dig deep and strike water, dive deep and find pearls.” When I first heard that statement years ago, I initially thought, “What the heck does that mean?” Years later I have a better understanding of what it means and how to apply it to daily life, especially when it feels like the rats are winning the rat race.

            When we say, “dig deep”, that means find a belief system that you resonate with and go deep. This might be a religion or a philosophy. It means study, read, pray, meditate and immerse yourself in its teachings and wisdom. It is helpful if you can find a teacher with integrity who can explain the more mystical aspects of the philosophy or religion, because the more you dig down into the foundations of the teachings, the more questions will come up. Oftentimes the biggest “aha” moments are found when you have solved a mystery, or come to an understanding of a teaching that is beyond those who do not apply themselves to the teaching. An example would be the concept of “all perception is projection”. Until we realize that we only see what we want to see, and usually a very subjective version of the truth, it is very difficult to grasp what life really is all about. Many times we are stressed and struggling to understand why events happen in our life when the truth is that we are causing the stress. Events happen whether we understand them or not. When we can experience an event and accept that we created it to learn something about our self, then the struggle disappears. Our minds are powerful imagination machines, and we can imagine something fun and exciting or we can imagine something horrible and frightening. So if we are experiencing stress and struggle, what are we projecting onto reality to create a holographic nightmare? When we can answer that question, then life becomes relatively simple.

            When we say “strike water”, we mean that we start to understand that there is more to life than what we think and feel. By that I mean that we start to understand that we are the creator of our reality and our minds are playing a large part of what we are experiencing. Many people have no idea how powerful we really are when we control our minds and our thoughts. Most people are at the mercy of their minds and thoughts, often victims of their minds that are allowed to run rampant through negativity and pain. When we think we are victims, we will be victimized. When we start to understand that we can control our mind and our thoughts, then life starts to flow in the direction we want. The “water” is the realization that we can control our thoughts and our mind. We can use meditation, affirmations, positive thinking, mantras, satsang and worship to ease our troubled thoughts and begin to connect with our higher consciousness and the divine.

            When we say “dive deep”, this is another metaphor for the concept that we digging deep into our subconscious to find the source of our thoughts, our demons, our beliefs and our pain. Water often times symbolizes our subconscious mind as we can’t see what is under the surface unless we are still and let our minds be still. We have to simply be, and let the contents of our subconscious mind settle to the bottom so that they can be seen from above. As we dive deeper and deeper into our subconscious mind, we will discover who we are and how we perceive ourselves to be. We will discover the traumas and injuries which caused us pain and suffering and realize that they are only memories and no longer real. Nothing is real in our subconscious; we just think it is. So we have to let these nightmares and dramas settle to the bottom so they may be removed.

            Finally, as we clear away the debris and muck at the bottom of our subconscious, we will begin to find the pearls of wisdom that were there all along. These include the highest teachings of the eastern philosophies and religions, that we are the creator that we have been searching for. We are not the doer, until we discover that we are. We are responsible for our own happiness. we can’t give that responsibility to anyone else. Finally, we are immortal spirits that take form over and over again and the biggest illusion of all is death. 

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


         I recently visited an amazing site north of Dublin, Ireland known as the Belvedere House. The House was built in the early 1700’s by Lord Robert Belvedere, known as the Wicked Earl. The theme of the experience of the visit was jealousy, because Belvedere House is most famous for a “folly” named The Jealousy Wall.  A “folly” is a structure that has no practical benefit and exists solely for decoration. The Jealousy Wall was built so the Lord didn’t have to look at his brother George’s house nearby that was bigger and grander than the Lord’s House. To spice things up, George resented Robert because George had courted the Lady Belvedere before her marriage to Robert.

            The Lord was known as the Wicked Earl because he imposed house arrest on his wife, not allowing her any visitors for a total of 31 years. He believed that she had an affair with his third brother Arthur that had produced the Lord’s third son. The fact that Robert and the Lady Belvedere had black hair while Arthur had blond hair was a concern for Robert and when George wrote Robert that the Lady Belvedere had been seen on numerous occasions with brother Arthur (which was untrue), Robert believed the worst and imprisoned his wife. So we have a jealous brother, a jealous husband and a victimized wife and child. And we wonder where romantic Victorian novels come from.

            After 31 years of isolating his wife, the Wicked Earl went on to meet his maker and the son went to free his mother, who he hadn’t seen in 17 years. The mother did not recognize her son and had to be convinced by family and friends that she was free to leave her house. The mother asked “Is the tyrant dead?” It is ironic that she would ask this question because the real tyrant that imprisons us all is the mind.

          Ancient wisdom known as “the teachings” states that we create our reality for our own enlightenment.  Most people would look at this story and instantly feel animosity for the Earl and sympathy for the wife.  Some would buy into the melodrama of the story and not look for the truth of the story, which has nothing to do with the surface themes of abuse, false imprisonment and victimhood.

        There are spiritual metaphors running all through this story. Betrayal, abandonment, rejection, guilt, shame, blame and jealousy as well as the imprisoning nature of wealth are obvious. The Lady had three children who did nothing to help her. The reason for this is that they were afraid that the Wicked Earl would disinherit them.  However, this story is not about the corrupting power of money although it is certainly present.  This is about the illusions of life and how our attachment to melodrama causes suffering. In other words, the “Tyrant” is metaphorically our minds that imprison us with our false beliefs and suffering. Thus, the question “Is the Tyrant dead?” takes on a greater importance to our well-being and blissful existence.

           After touring the house and grounds, I went to take a nap overlooking the lake at Belvedere House. As I dozed, I had a vision about a conversation between two stars shining brightly above the planet Earth. Let’s us call them X and Y, their real names are unpronounceable.  These stars were divine beings who come to Earth over and over to bring us enlightenment. They take the form of humans to play roles for their own enlightenment as well as roles for others.

              X said to Y, “Wow, that was a stellar performance as Lady Belvedere. I bet you get a divine award for that role.” Y replied, “X, you were absolutely brilliant as Lord Belvedere. I haven’t seen you do so well since you played Cleopatra and I played Julius Caesar.

                 At that moment, a comet went speeding by and X called out: “Hailey! I haven’t seen you in ages! How are you?” Hailey replied: “Well, you know us comets, what goes around comes around!” Y said, “really funny Hailey, your karmic humor is getting really good!” Hailey said: “Thanks Y! You know God really liked your Lord and Lady Belvedere…I hear he is going to send you back as Adolf Hitler and a young Jewish girl who survives the concentration camps. God wants the humans to wake up and heal this victim consciousness that has infected planet Earth. Did you know that humans are still buying into the illusion that you acted out for them?”

                X said: “Surely not, I thought Y’s performance would have brought them to their senses.” Hailey said:”Nope, in fact, X, everybody thinks you were wicked and Y was so victimized.” “Oh for Chrissake ,” said X.  A far off start started winking. “I wasn’t calling you, JC,” said X.  The far off star steadied.  “You would think somebody would have seen through the illusion”, said Y.  “Well, SGB, JC and DO’N know what it was all about, but unfortunately it went over a lot of people’s heads.  They think it was all the Lord’s fault”, said Hailey. “When will people understand that jealousy, greed, money, blame and shame are all illusions for their enlightenment?” said Y. “Someday,” said Hailey and it sped off again.

                      X turned to Y and said, “When will those humans quit feeling sorry for each other and realize that they are actually stars like us?” Y twinkled and said, “I hope not soon, we would then have to stop coming to Earth and having so much fun being victims. I can’t wait to be Adolf Hitler, everyone will really hate him!” X twinkled back, “I know, I know, you get all the good victim roles, although this Jewish woman who survives the Holocost ought to wake people up about the illusion of victimhood! Although sometimes I think these humans are attached to their suffering, they cling to it so hard! If only they would look up to us sometimes and remember who they really are…”

            I woke up and smiled, then got back on the bus….

Spiritual and relationship expert, teacher, counselor, advisor, speaker, and writer James Gray Robinson


As we enter the spring of 2015, we are excited about the new energies that are surrounding us with hope and renewal. Time is definitely shifting, expanding and contracting at faster and faster rates. This shifting can be a cause of great joy or conversely, great concern. It is an opportunity to redefine oneself and grow.

Derek O’Neill talks about the need for all of us to quit giving lip service to the teachings (ancient wisdom) and to start applying them. For myself, it took a lot of trial and error to understand what it actually means to “apply the teachings.” I have heard people proclaim that they are applying the teachings and then complain about their spouse/lack of spouse, clients/lack of clients, job/lack of job, friends/lack of friends and other topics.

I am no expert what that term “applying the teachings” means, but I believe I have found some of the steps to applying the teachings. The warning signs that I am “not applying the teachings” include dissatisfaction, loneliness, anxiety, fear, boredom, resentment, jealousy, shame, blame and guilt. The teachings help us heal these experiences so that they don’t have to be repeated. Some of the steps of “applying the teachings” are as follows:

(1)           Quit blaming anyone for your circumstances. We are the creator of our reality. Since we created it, we can change it.

(2)           Quit talking about our “dysfunctional” childhood. There is no such thing as a “dysfunctional” family. After all, our families got us here, didn’t they? If we even think that word we are in victim consciousness.

(3)           If someone has abused or hurt us, thank them. If we are up to it, we might even forgive them.

(4)           Don’t talk about others unless we are praising them. When we gossip, that is rejecting the teachings.

(5)           Keep a journal of all the people we have served on a daily basis. If we have any days that we don’t serve someone, be sure to do it the next day.

(6)           Remember that people who upset or hurt us were brought by us into our life for our enlightenment. This is especially true for “spiritual” friends and family.

(7)           Are we thinking negative thoughts or positive thoughts? What we think creates our reality. Be aware that we have at least 64,000 thoughts per day, and that they usually fall into two categories: thoughts of attachment and aversion. If you have a negative thought, simply say to yourself, “Cancel, I send love.” This will erase the Karma created by the negative thought.

(8)           Keep our eyes on our teacher and do our duty.  All will be well if we remember that one teaching.

(9)           Stop expecting rewards for our actions. What we get in life is the result of our actions (karma) sometimes lifetimes in the past. We are sowing the seeds of our future at any given moment. Happy seeds grow much better than angry or fearful seeds. There is no such thing as instant gratification.

(10)        Forget about “speaking our truth” and “standing in our power.”  Oftentimes that is just a disguise for insisting on being right and arrogance.  Be humble, forgiving and kind.

(11)        Above all, service, service, service.

As we go into this landmark year, make it the best year of our life! Some days will be better than others, and our application of the teachings is sometimes better one day than others. That is what makes life so exciting, don’t you think?